Quotes of the day

In the 62 years of our existence, we have had seven wars, thousands of terror attacks, buses which have exploded in streets, firing into schools, mortars fired on kindergartens. Yet you wish to exile us back to the inferno, as if nothing happened 65 years ago in Europe, as if our hands have not been stretched out for peace since the establishment of the state?

We were victorious in the wars imposed upon us by Egypt and we signed a peace agreement with it after yielding all the territory and all the oil. We signed a peace agreement with Jordan. We yielded all the territory and much water. We withdrew from Lebanon to the international border and, in return, we received Hizbullah katyushas on our citizens. We left Gaza and in return, we received massive firing on our citizens in the South. Are you aware, Ms. Thomas, that many children from Sderot and the area around Gaza wet their beds until a late age out of fear of the Hamas missiles? And it is us that you wish to exile? Why? Because you think that we are weak or because it annoys you that we are not defeated?

As someone, who throughout his adult life has been a member of the Israeli “peace camp,” notwithstanding you and your strange and angering views, my friends and I (and I hope also my government) will continue to turn over every stone and scour every corner to attain peace. Peace, which will enable us to the smallest extent to live and our neighbors, the Palestinians, to establish a country and to flourish and prosper. To achieve this, we are prepared to make great concessions, to give back all the territories gained as a result of wars which our neighbors forced on us. There is only one thing we want in return – life. A quiet life, a life without terror, a life without missiles, a life like the one you have in Washington and which I, in Israel, also deserve.

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“There’s anti-Semitism in the world,” Nesenoff told me. “And it’s sitting a foot from the president.”

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Reached at home, Thomas, 89, said: “I’m very sorry for my remarks. I think I crossed the line. I made a mistake.”

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